The Christian Council of Ghana is has proposed the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms to address the problems at the Electoral Commission (EC) and ensure a truce following the growing tensions between the EC Chairperson, Charlotte Osei and employees of the commission.
Dr. Kwabena Opuni Frimpong, the General Secretary of the Council, implored the EC to be mindful of the fact it needed stability to prepare for and ensure a successful 2020 election.
“We must keep in mind the 2020 general elections of this country; the national cohesion that we need and peace. Therefore, anything that will set the stage and prepare the ground even for electoral tension must be taken care of,” Dr. Opuni Frimpong said to Citi News.
He reminded that “before the 2016 general elections, we were calling for peace before, during and after the elections. But after the elections, almost all the issues that are being raised either by the staff of the EC or the EC Chairperson, are all 2016 general election related.”
The fracas at the EC came to the fore after some employees of commission petitioned President Nana Akufo-Addo to dismiss Charlotte Osei for alleged financial malfeasance.
Among other things, the aggrieved employees claimed that Mrs Osei unilaterally awarded a GHc 3.9 million contract for the demarcation and partitioning of an office complex without engaging the Commission and indulged in cronyism by awarding another contract to the tune of $14,310,961 to associates for the construction of prefabricated District offices.
Mrs. Osei rubbished the allegations and fired some of her own, accusing Deputy Commissioner in-charge of Operations at the EC, Amadu Sulley, of plundering some GHC 6 million from political parties without informing the Commission’s Finance Department.
She said the political party primaries were treated as a private commercial project by Amadu Sulley, noting that funds were paid directly into the personal accounts of key staff for functions to be performed at the primaries.
Mrs. Osei thus said she will order investigations into the conduct of Amadu Sulley and other Commissioners believed to be engaged in malpractices.
Prior to the petition, the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO), had been interrogating the EC’s Director of Finance, Dr. Joseph Kwaku Asamoah, a Deputy EC Chair, and another official over their alleged involvement in the loss of GHc480,000 from the Commission’s Staff Endowment Fund.
Charlotte Osei had directed the three to step aside for the investigations.
In a response to Charlotte Osei’s directive to proceed on leave, Dr. Asamoah claimed he was not at post as the Director of Finance nor was he in any position to influence management’s decision regarding financial administration of the Endowment Fund during the period of the alleged loss.
Official communication between the EC Chairperson and Dr. Asamaoh shows later indicated that he was indeed not at post when the money went missing from the Commission’s Staff Endowment Fund.